Historic visit to Moldova by the NATO Partnership Committee aims to deepen partnership
The NATO Partnership and Cooperative Security Committee (PCSC) concluded on Wednesday (3 June 2015) today a 2-day visit to Moldova. Representatives from five partner countries - Austria, Ireland, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland - joined the committee, which was led by James Appathurai, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs.
Speaking about the decision to have the NATO Partnership and Cooperative Security Committee visiting Moldova instead of having usual meetings at NATO Headquarters, James Appathurai said: "We are here to demonstrate our commitment to Moldova and to our partnership. This is a historic and unique visit. We came here because circumstances are unique". And he added: "We also want to show the nature of our partnership, as it is important for us that Moldovan people have a good understanding of what NATO is and what NATO does. At the same time, it is a great opportunity for NATO to better understand Moldova's current challenges".
The primary item on the agenda was how to deepen cooperation between NATO and Moldova. Members of the committee met with Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici, Defence Minister Viorel Cibotaru, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Galbur, as well as with parlamentarians and leaders of political parties. “NATO and Moldova are considering together decisions to upgrade and deepen NATO-Moldova cooperation”, said James Appathurai. "We have been already doing a lot during the last 20 years; we can and want to do more with Moldova", he underlined. "Our focus is now on the next steps for deepening our cooperation, namely the Defence Capacity Building package offered to Moldova at the Wales Summit. We will go home and finalize the discussions with the June defence ministerial meeting in sight. However, it has to be a two-way street: Moldova worked fast but it will need to implement extensive reforms - as for instance continue fighting corruption, reforming the security system and investing more in defence," he concluded.
On 3 June the NATO Partnership and Cooperative Security Committee and partners met with civil society, academics, media and students, during a public diplomacy conference organized together with the NATO Information and Documentation Centre. Cooperation between NATO and Moldova and good practices in NATO operations were amongst the topics addressed. "We want to thank Moldovan people for the contribution Moldova does to NATO's operation in Kosovo and potentially elsewhere. It shows Moldova's commitment to be a security provider in the region", James Appathurai told participants and media present.
Moldova's neutrality was in the spotlight throughout the discussions during the visit. "We have deep respect for Moldova's constitutional neutrality, as well as for Moldova's sovereignty and territorial integrity. NATO has excellent cooperation with many neutral countries; our aim is to support Moldova to enhance its security. A stable and stronger Moldova is good for Moldovan people, is good for Europe and is good for NATO. In today's geopolitical circumstances, with an assertive Russia exerting pressure on countries in the region, only cooperation makes us stronger and only together we can address security challenges", was the final message conveyed by James Appathurai in the name of the Committee.
This was the first visit of the NATO Partnership and Cooperative Security Committee to Moldova.